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What to do when the toxic behavior’s coming from inside the house.
We’ve talked about toxic parents, now it’s time to talk about...well, you. Sometimes the toxicity you need to avoid to enjoy your wedding planning is coming from you. This is a guide for how to check-in with yourself and also check yourself to avoid turning into a flesh-eating zombie.
Google “wedding horror story” and you’ll see things like this story where a bride told wedding party members to dress by weight and wear sweatpants and stilettos on a Hawaiian beach. The response was less than ideal and the post went viral. We can attribute toxic behavior to two things: personality or pressure. If your personality is trash, you’ve probably been consistently garbage to people and lack the self-awareness to admit that. I’d like to address the people who are acting unlike themselves because of wedding planning pressure.
“Bridal” language surrounds the wedding industry and assumes that 1) all couples have a bride and 2) that the only person who cares about their wedding is a woman. This is the moment every young girl is conditioned to dream about and look forward to because traditionally a wedding has been the event that defined a woman’s value. We’re led to believe It’s the last day that it’s all about her. The pressure to own and control your wedding day begins at the proposal.
Eventually, the voices of your own self-hate, siblings, parents, friends, co-workers, and even strangers begins to take a toll. The impossible expectation to appease everyone begins to warp your emotions, relationships, communication, and sense of self. You might start to feel entitled because you don’t feel like enough people are paying attention to your needs. You’re probably not even communicating your needs to people because you don’t really know what you need or what to expect. People on average plan a wedding once in a lifetime. You might not even know what you’re stepping into.
Here’s how to check yourself so you don’t end up on Investigation Discovery (either as a victim or a perp):
1. Sit Down and Evaluate
A little project management done at the beginning will take time upfront, but it saves even more time (and stress!) down the road. Block off a few hours and block out as many distractions as possible. Sit down and make an outline of what needs to get done, like vendor consultations, purchasing decor, setup, and more. Assign those blocks to a person. It could be a coordinator, a family member, or friend you know will deliver.
2. Calmly Communicate Your Needs
How do you know who will deliver? You ask them, of course. Give them the space to say “No” if they need to. Ask things of them, but do not demand things of them. Yes, they may have been your friends for years, but that doesn’t mean they owe you seven hours of labor on your big day. Have the conversation and if someone is unable to help with that block, think of someone else. If the help from family and friends is thin, consider hiring a coordinator or planner.
3. Adjust Your Expectations
Please pay attention to this: There’s no such thing as a perfect wedding. I repeat, there is no such thing as a perfect wedding. You will not have a perfect wedding. Everyone won’t be on their best behavior. Things will go wrong. Something unexpected will happen. But you know what? You will still have a beautiful, amazing life-altering day. It will be one for the books, but it won’t be perfect, and that’s more than okay. That’s human. Release yourself from the unrealistic expectation of perfection and lean into how you want to feel, how you want your partner to feel, and how you want your guests to feel on the day. Focus on that and your day will be a smash.
4. Take Care of Yourself
I cannot stress this enough, you have to have a plan for how to handle this pressure. You’re going to be dealing with a lot of emotions, finances, relationship dynamics, and other stressors. Whether it’s a run, meeting with friends you adore, therapy, washing your face, a bubble bath, a scenic drive, meditation, diet change, a cup of coffee just with yourself, or whatever you need to keep yourself even, do it and do it proactively. Do not wait to do something once you feel stressed. Do this to manage the stress before it hits. If you practice nothing else, please practice this. You already have a lot of responsibilities, adding a wedding is like adding 50 new responsibilities to your plate. Be patient with and take care of yourself.
5. Protect Your Relationships
No one wants you to be burned out on the day you get married, but no one should be on the receiving end of your wrath leading up to the day either (unless they actually goofed up). If we’re being honest, you don’t want to be wrathful either. If you’ve already bitten off a few heads, clear yours first and come back to the relationship after some time. Approach whomever you burned with love and understand that they might not be in a place for reconciliation now or ever. As long as you made an earnest attempt to remediate, that’s all that matters.
Follow these tips to protect yourself as you head into your planning or even if you’re in the midst of it now. A wedding is an amazing moment of you life but don’t let it consume your life.
Jordan A. Maney is a San Antonio-based wedding planner and owner of All The Days Event Co. She she started her company as a planning haven for all the couples the industry chooses to ignore. Instead of just making a brand, she's building a community. Find more of her sass, humor, and Southern hospitality at allthedaysweddings.com.